German Tuner Wraps And Punches Up Performance Of Mercedes-Benz CL500

A fairly new tuning company from Germany called WRAPworks has presented a fresh take on the pre-facelift W216 Mercedes-Benz CL500.[...]

Past Masters: Andrew Frankel Revisits The 1992 Jaguar XJ220 Supercar

In 1988, Jaguar unveiled a new concept at the NEC Auto Show in Birmingham. It was a study for a lightweight, mid-engined supercar to compete against the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959[...]

Watch Our 12 Most Popular Offbeat Videos Of 2012

When we're not scooping out future cars or reporting the news from around the auto industry, we habitually like to snoop around and see what else is going on in the world of four and sometimes, two wheels - guilty as charged[...]

Watch A Tug Of War Between A VW Touareg V10 TDI And A Chevrolet Silverado Duramax V8

It seems that pickup truck owners throughout the country have a thing for competing in amateur pulling contests[...]

750HP Aston Martin Vs 626HP Mercedes SLR McLaren Vs 560HP Nissan GT-R

Here's further proof that horsepower numbers can be hugely deceiving. A completely stock Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with 626-ponies goes up against a lightly tuned Nissan GT-R with a Stage 2 kit and[...]

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Volkswagen Group Nabs TeamRS and SVT Boss Jost Capito from Ford


In a surprising development, the Volkswagen Group has grabbed the much-famed Jost Capito from the Ford Motor Company.

The 53-year old will head the German company's Motorsport division effective May 1, 2012, replacing Kris Nissen, who will remain in the company to support Capito during the transition phase and consequently assist the Group in an advisory role, according to VW.


Capito, who is credited with overseeing the development of the original Focus RS as well as the current Focus ST and Fiesta ST models, was Ford's director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. Both the North American SVT and European TeamRS performance divisions reported directly to Capito. It is believed that he will have a similar role in the VW Group as well.

It is not known who will replace him at Ford yet.

Capito is an engineering graduate who began his career in the automotive industry back in 1984 as a development engineer for BMW’s high-performance engines before moving to Porsche in 1989, initially heading the Porsche Carrera Cup Organisation and later overseeing all Porsche brand racing championship campaigns.

In 1996, he moved to Sauber Petronas Engineering HG and was Chief Operating Officer of the Sauber Red Bull Formula 1 team from 1998. In 2001, Capito headed to Ford where he remained until today.

Capito also has experience in motorsport and among other things, he has competed in various endurance motorcycle racing and motocross having won several titles, while he also took part in the Paris-Dakar Rally across the Sahara Desert, winning the truck category in 1985.


By Unknown with No comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Corvette Z06 Chases a Nissan GT-R Around the Track Until it Surrenders


What Nissan has managed to do with the R35 GT-R is nothing short of amazing, as the Japanese carmaker's flagship model has become the de facto standard in the sports car world upon which all other vehicles are judged.

Of course, we should never forget that another important factor that weighs in at any type of race is the driver and how capable he or she is behind the wheel.

The video that follows, isn't a race per se, as the drivers of the Corvette Z06 and Nissan GT-R running at the MotorSport Ranch Performance Car Country Club in Texas were probably there to do some hot laps around the track, but still, the chase that ensued makes for a pretty interesting watch.

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2013 Ford Taurus Review


The first Ford Taurus showed up in 1985 (as a 1986 model) and proved to be an instant success. In one year, Ford sold over 200,000 examples of the car, and by 1989 that number had surpassed one million units. Ford had not seen this kind of success for a car since the Mustang debuted in 1964.

The Taurus sent a wake-up call to the North American automotive industry, spurring Chevrolet and Chrysler to hit back with answers to the Taurus - although none came close to beating its initial success.

Last year, Ford sold just over 63,000 Taurus models in America. While not a bad sales figure, it’s still far from the car's early sales.

To recapture customer attention, Ford revamped the Taurus for the 2013 model-year, but will it be enough to shoot up Taurus sales to the level it once enjoyed?

1. A new base 3.5L V6 engine delivers 25 hp more power for a new total of 288, while fuel economy rises one mpg in the city and two on the highway for total of 19/29.
2. Available luxury goodies include a heated steering wheel, keyless access with a push button ignition, a backup camera, adaptive cruse control and a rear power sunshade.
3. Curve Control and Torque Vectoring systems help improve corner .
4. A 2.0L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, available later this year, will deliver 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque with a 31 mpg highway rating.
5. 2013 models start from $26,600 and $39,200 for the SHO.


From a distance, the 2013 Ford Taurus doesn’t look much different from the 2012 model. You’ll be hard pressed to distinguish between last year’s SE, SEL and Limited models and the 2013 versions. The new SHO does, however, stand out from the previous car thanks to its new nose and stunning 20-inch wheels.

Subtle as they many be, there are styling changes; like the wider front grille and a lower fascia. Around the side, you will find folding rear-view mirrors and perhaps even the optional 18-, 19- or 20-inch wheels (the base SE model has 17-inch wheels standard). While at the rear, you’ll find LED tail lights and dual exhaust pipes.


The bulk of Ford's updates, however, are to the interior. Here you’ll find higher quality materials than the previous Taurus and a completely revised dashboard. Gone are the old twist knobs and raised buttons, replaced by a clean and simple flat panel in the center of the dashboard that has soft touch buttons.

The system is similar to the current Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. It’s not to everyone’s liking and there has to be some worry that the Baby Boomer and older generations won’t warm to the technology as quickly as a Gen Y would. Still, it gives the interior a cleaner, more up-class look.

The (optional) touch screen infotainment system looks good but has the same drawback as any other. It's feature-packed, but all touch-screen systems show finger smudges and are hard to keep clean.

Otherwise, the interior is a pleasant, particularly because it's quiet. Ford spent a lot of time and effort to make the Taurus quieter than the competition with thicker glass and more sound insulation. According to Ford, the new Taurus is quieter than the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima, and after driving the car we’re not arguing.

Interior space is unchanged from 2012, which is fine, especially given the generous 20.1 cubic-foot luggage capacity in the trunk.


2013-Ford-Taurus-front-blackEngine options are also updated for 2013 with the addition of a 2.0-liter Ecoboost, which will be available later this year and an improved base V6 ready for launch. The top-of-the-line 3.5-liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 in the SHO remains the same with 365 horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. Rather than serving as an entry-level engine, the four-cylinder it will actually cost $1,000 more than the base V6, though it wasn't available for testing during our test trip.

The base V6 is vastly improved with twin independent-variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). Thanks to its variable cams, this motor now produces 25 horsepower more than last year’s car, to a total of 288-hp. Maximum torque is now 254 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. Peak numbers aside, there’s bags more power in the mid-range rpms which makes highway passing a breeze.

Power is fed to either the front wheels or to an all-wheel drive system through a six-speed automatic gearbox, which might be very smooth, but it seems Ford is behind the curve with much of the competition moving to eight-speed gearboxes.


Ford says, despite lacking a few extra cogs, this new Taurus is still more efficient than most of its competition, averaging 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Not bad for a vehicle that is 16.9-feet long and weighs 4,000 lbs.

Remarkably, the much more powerful Taurus SHO can deliver the same fuel economy, provided you don’t lean too hard on the gas.

When the EcoBoost 4-cylinder arrives it will deliver 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and an impressive 31 mpg on the highway.

All SHO models come equipped with all-wheel drive, which certainly makes driving feel more secure, especially in slippery road conditions.


To further help drivers navigate through twists and turns, Ford has fitted its latest curve control and torque vectoring devices to the Taurus. Curve control will slow the car down by as much as 10-mph if it feels the car is going too fast for the corner, and torque vectoring applies slight braking force to the inside front wheel when accelerating out of a corner, helping the car take a tighter, more precise line through the corner.


We like driver aids that work behind the scenes, keeping you safe. What we don’t like very much is the electronic power steering system – surprisingly, as its quite good in other Ford products. In the Taurus it lacks feel for what the front wheels are actually doing so more attention is required to figure out how much steering input is actually needed.

Prices for the 2013 Ford Taurus start at $26,600 for the SE model. The better-equipped SEL and Limited models are $28,800 and $33,000 respectively (add $1850 for all-wheel drive with both these models). The fast and surprisingly frugal SHO model is yours from $39,200.


An evolution of a car you’ve been able to buy from your local Ford dealer for the past two years, some of the improvements to the 2013 Taurus are more noticeable than others and buyers might not see all the updates as improvements.


From a technical and performance point of view, this new Taurus is a step in the right direction. Adding improved driving dynamics, fuel economy and power it certainly has a leg up on the aged Maxima and Buick LaCrosse. SHO aside, the styling updates don’t shake the old-man design which will probably push some buyers toward Dodge and Chrysler's more youthful styling, or even the new Hyundai Azera.

  • SHO’s aggressive new look
  • Mid-range performance, especially with new V6
  • Quiet interior
  • Lack of steering feel
  • Touch screen infotainment system gets all smudgy
  • 6-speed auto while competition is offering 8-speeds

By Unknown with No comments

2013 Infiniti JX35 Review


Ask anyone at Infiniti and they'll tell you the new JX35 three-row luxury crossover is poised to become the brand's second best seller overnight.

Sean McNamera, project manager for the JX, will tell you even more forcefully, commenting that until now the Acura MDX has sat as the segment leader by default, compared to vastly more expensive, truck-based German models like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7.

"We have ticked every box possible with this car," he says. "There is no reason anyone should go anywhere but JX at this point."

That's a lot of confidence, even at a PR-spin press intro, but Infiniti has good reason to be optimistic, especially with the MDX growing old in its product cycle.Sean McNamera, project manager for the JX, will tell you even more forcefully, commenting that until now the Acura MDX has sat as the segment leader by default, compared to vastly more expensive, truck-based German models like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7.

"We have ticked every box possible with this car," he says. "There is no reason anyone should go anywhere but JX at this point."

That's a lot of confidence, even at a PR-spin press intro, but Infiniti has good reason to be optimistic, especially with the MDX growing old in its product cycle.

1. The JX features the world's first Backup Collision Intervention system that can detect objects behind the car and apply full brakes.
2. Perfect for teen drivers, Infiniti Connection lets owners set speed and distance limits on the car, notifying you by text, email or a call if any "rules" have been broken.
3. A unique 2nd row passenger side seat still allows easy access to the 3rd row, even with a baby seat installed.
4. JX models start at $40,450 or $41,550 for AWD and come well-equipped from $46,350.


As a brand, Infiniti's tag line is "Inspired Performance". "The JX isn't about 0-60 times or hitting one g of cornering force," explains McNamara, commenting that conventional buyers for this type of vehicle also usually own a sports sedan. Instead, the JX gets "Inspired Performance for Seven", including everything from luxury, to technology, to safety, to fuel economy.

Starting under the hood the JX35, as the name suggests, is powered by the brand's familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine, making a modest 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. For a three-row luxury crossover, it's not overly heavy and so that power is sufficient, though less than engaging.


A first for the Infiniti brand is a CVT transmission. Known for delivering high fuel economy and a smooth drive, such transmissions are also criticized for numbing the driving sensation. That's party true here, though the incredible smoothness of a CVT is perfect for a luxury vehicle in this segment and fuel economy is rated at best-in-class 18/24 mpg for the front-drive version and 18/23 mpg for the all-wheel drive model. We saw an average of 19 mpg during out test. The CVT is arguably one of the few compromises made on the JX and is one that's both understandable and acceptable.

To help inject a little more passion into the powertrain, Infiniti has fitted the JX with its Drive Mode Selector, with a default "Normal" mode, as well as Snow, Eco and Sport. Adjusting the throttle sensitivity and CVT characteristics, it's noticeably different in each setting though the Sport mode is a bit of an exaggeration. When combined with the Eco Pedal in the Driver Assistance Package ($2,200), the throttle pedal will actually push back to help curb lead-footed driving.


More engaging is the car's design. Even if the JX was a dud, which it most certainly is not, Infiniti would sell tens of thousands based on looks alone.

There's high-grade paint, plenty of chrome and Infiniti's unique style, with a flare for the dramatic that none of its Japanese rivals have ever been able, or willing, to match. Of particular note are the crescent shaped D-pillars, which Infiniti says is a style element that will trickle down into the rest of the lineup.

Infiniti is a brand that prides itself on big wheels and the JX continues that tradition. Standard are 18-inch rollers with 235/65/18 tires, while the model we tested was fully loaded with the optional 20-inchers with lower profile tires - available in the Deluxe Touring Package ($2,550) with a panoramic glass roof and upgraded audio system or as a stand-alone $1,600 option. The ride proved whisper quiet and ultra smooth.


In terms of driving dynamics, taking into account the other six seats in the crossover, the one behind the wheel is de-prioritized. The trade-off for the luxury ride is noticeable body roll and pushing in the corners.

Open any door and the level of luxury will shock anyone who's shopped this segment before. Infiniti is immediately a rival for the Audi in this respect, and the JX will have prospective Q7 buyers wondering why they should pay many thousands more.


Much of the cabin is familiar to anyone who's been in an Infiniti M, with the uniquely stitched seats and incredibly creamy leather. One notable upgrade is the new central display screen between the two main gauges, showing the lengthy list of available tech and safety driver aides with some stylish new graphics. Maxed out at $49,150, including the Premium Package ($4,950), Technology Package ($3,100) and Deluxe Touring Package, just listing the content would fill as much space as this whole article.


Targeted at parents, and with women likely to be the primary drivers says Infiniti marketing boss Keith St. Clair, the JX is taking a leadership position on safety. Along with expected goodies like a Blind Spot Warning system and Lane Departure Warning, Infiniti also boasts intervention systems that will tug the car back into its lane (using the brakes on the opposite side of the car). Introduced on other models, Infiniti is now taking safety a step further with the world's first Backup Collision Intervention system. Similar to a forward-working system on Volvo models, the Infiniti version will detect objects behind the car and even objects approaching from the sides. Designed to work at low speeds, like when you're creeping out of your driveway or a mall parking space, audible warning beeps as well as visual cues on the back-up camera will alert the driver to brake. If those warnings are ignored the car will even push back on the accelerator before applying full brakes to avoid a collision. Designed more to trigger the driver to brake, the brake pedal must then be applied to halt the car completely or after one second it will resume its rearward roll.

Other tech add-ons straddle the line between safety and convenience, like the full-speed cruise control, which Infiniti has taken a step further with what it calls Distance Control Assist. Combined in the Driver Assistance Package with Intelligent Brake Assist and Forward Collision Warning, rather than alert the driver that they are approaching another vehicle too closely (common in many luxury models), this new system will take action, pushing back on the throttle to let the driver know to ease off, while simultaneously applying the brakes to slow the car.


Having the car tell you when to brake and when to apply the throttle, and then doing almost all of that work for you is initially a bizarre feeling and requires a level of trust in the technology. It doesn't take long, however, to realize that while a bit conservative, it's an incredibly smart system that works excellently. Infiniti, after all, prides itself on technology that serves a purpose and is easy to use. With all of the many features enabled the JX feels, dare we say it, uncrashable.

As an added level of security, parents with driving age children will love the Infiniti Connection service, which allows both a driving zone and maximum speed to be set. If either of these parameters is surpassed, parents, or in our case Infiniti PR folks, will receive a text, email or call alerting them to the situation. Free for the first year, Infiniti Connection includes emergency services similar to OnStar.


When the kiddies are hanging out in the second row, there's plenty of room, with Infiniti making spaciousness one of the most important factors of this true three-row. In terms of overall size, the JX is slightly longer than its main rival the Acura MDX and a little shorter than the Q7. Still, it boasts more interior room than either and thanks to a sliding second row bench that can move forward or back up to 5.5 inches, second row leg room is 3-inches better than the Acura and 4-inches beyond the Audi. While it's no Honda Odyssey, third row room is livable.

With 15.8 cu-ft of cargo space behind the 3rd row (more than what you'll get in almost any sedan), that space expands to anywhere from 40.8 cu-ft to 47.3 cu-ft with the 3rd row seats down, depending on the position of the 2nd row. There's even a small storage space under the trunk area, and the cover uses a friction hinge, meaning you don't have to hold it up.


Keeping all rows livable is a tri-zone climate control system, with outboard vents for the third row. Infiniti has even devised a unique folding and sliding passenger-side 2nd row seat that allows access to the 3rd row when a baby seat is in use, offering 14-inches of room, enough space for kids to slip through easily and even adults should the need arise.


When Infiniti first announced plans to get into the three-row luxury crossover game, it was hard not to meet the news with skepticism - especially considering the brand already sells three high-riding, all-wheel drive machines.

Still, the JX reaches a segment of the population no other Infiniti product does. Being a luxury brand, this three-row is priced at $40,450 to start and is geared towards those with a higher income, particularly an increasing demographic of couples who are deciding to have families later in life.


With a solid reason by the company to offer such a product, just looking at and sitting in the JX is enough to start changing consumers' minds. The drive is a bit less inspired than we've come to expect from Infiniti, but factor in the price, luxury, fuel economy, interior space and features and the newest three-row luxury crossover is instantly the best.

  • Pure luxury inside
  • Incredible functionality and space
  • High-tech safety features
  • Highly-competitive pricing
  • Acceleration a bit tepid for an Infiniti
  • Less dramatic drive than brand usually delivers

By Unknown with 1 comment

Get a Car for Half Price on eBay This Week

In the market for a new car and have cash ready to go? You might want to check out a joint promotion between eBay Motors and AutoNation, the largest group of U.S. car dealerships.

From now until March 30th, AutoNation is celebrating the launch of AutoNation Direct by selling vehicles from Ford, General Motors, and Nissan for half off. That’s right, 50-percent off. We took a look over one of the auctions to see what the catch is, and there really isn’t one. There’s no financing involved, so it’s a cash deal only, and upon winning the auction you have to pony up $500 via PayPal. A full payment of the vehicle must be made within three days of the deposit.

Four vehicles appear randomly every day, so you have to keep your eyes out on their auction page. Most of them have been sold within minutes, including a Chevy Volt for $22,615. AutoNation will apparently finish off the promotion with a 2012 Corvette at half off.

By Unknown with No comments

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Drunken Couple Messes with the Wrong Car and Pays the Price

Excessive drinking can often lead to much more than a hangover, especially if it is something one does on a daily basis. And while most individuals will simply turn a blind eye to drunken people acting up in public, some may take matters in their own hands – literally…

After consuming large amounts of alcohol, a Russian pair took to the streets and started picking on cars and their drivers. However, they soon knocked on the wrong window and paid a very heavy-handed price from one of its passengers.

Take a look at the video right after the break.

By Unknown with No comments

Chevy Closes the Gap Between Camaro SS and ZL1 with New 1LE, Priced Under $40,000


If there's one thing GM knows to do well, that's to cover as many niches as possible with the same model.
If you take a look at the Camaro's current range, you'll see an evident price and performance gap between the hardcore, 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1 and the tamer 426-horsepower SS.

GM now wants to close that gap the new 2013 Camaro 1LE, which will also offer the company a more direct rival (price-wise) to the Ford Mustang Boss 302.

While there are no changes to the SS' 6.2-liter V8 engine, the 1LE package brings unique gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that are said to help make the Camaro capable of returning more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-three minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway’s Grand Course.

“The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and ZL1 to take road-racing performance to a whole new level,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.

“That the 1LE breaks the three-minute lap at VIR puts it in the upper echelon of performance cars. That it starts under $40,000 makes the Camaro 1LE one of the most affordable, most capable track-day cars offered by any manufacturer," he added.

The 1LE package, which was first introduced in the Camaro's range in 1988, will be offered only on the 1SS and 2SS models with a six-speed manual transmission. In this case, the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 is rated at 426 horsepower (318 kW) and 420 lb-ft of torque (569 Nm).

However, instead of the Camaro SS' Tremec TR6060-M10 transmission, the 1LE features a closer geared Tremec TR6060-MM6 paired with a numerically higher 3.91 final-drive ratio, and like the ZL1, it gets a standard air-to-liquid cooling system for track use.

Chevy's engineers made more changes to the suspension as they replaced the SS model's twin-tube dampers with new monotube rear dampers, and also added a larger, 27-mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28-mm solid rear stabilizer bar for improved body control, plus a strut tower brace for improved steering feel and response.

Other improvements include higher-capacity rear-axle half shafts, ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links and rear shock mounts along with the ZL1's high-capacity fuel pump and additional fuel pickups.

The 1LE rides on new 20-inch wheels wrapped around the same 285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires (front and rear) used on the ZL1.

On the outside, the 2013 Camaro 1LE is distinguished by the matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler, plus the black 10-spoke ZL1-based alloy wheels. Inside, the package adds the ZL1’s flat-bottom steering wheel and short-throw shifter, both trimmed in sueded-microfiber.

Along with the 1LE, Chevrolet also announced some changes to the 2013 Camaro SS that benefits from a new electric power steering system sourced from the ZL1, which GM says provides more feedback, and a more direct steering feel, to the driver.

Also new for 2013 is an optionally available dual-mode exhaust system for the SS V8 models with a six-speed manual and an updated color touch radio with MyLink infotainment system.

By Unknown with No comments

Fiat to Launch Dodge Dart as the New Viaggio in China, Hatchback Version May Replace Bravo


At next month's 2012 Beijing Auto Show, Fiat will whip the covers off a new compact sedan model named the Viaggio before it begins producing the car in China in July, ahead of its market launch later in the year, according to a report from Autonews Europe.

The new sedan, which is named after the Italian word for Journey, will be a rebadged version of the new 2013 Dodge Dart sedan that will reach U.S. dealerships this May with a starting price of $15,995 (€12,100 / GBP 10,100).

The Dart is based on a modified version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta's platform. It measures 4,672mm (183.9-in. long, 1,830mm (72-in.) wide, 1,465mm (57.7-in.) tall and rides on a 2,703mm (106.4-in.) wheelbase.

In theory, it competes against C-segment sedans like the Ford Focus and VW Jetta, but it's actually longer and wider than some D-segment saloons such as the new BMW 3-Series.

In China, Fiat's version of the Dart will be offered with its 1.4-liter petrol engines in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms, which will be built locally.

The Viaggio will be the first model to be produced from Fiat's joint venture with China's Guangzhou Automobile Group at a new factory with an initial annual output of 140,000 vehicles, which could rise to around 250,000 cars.

Fiat hasn’t had much luck with its Chinese joint ventures as the Italian company dissolve its money-losing partnership with Nanjing Automotive back in 2007, while another attempt to cooperate with Chery Automotive the same year failed to go through.

The Italian automaker aims to sell up to 300,000 cars a year in China by 2014 from less than 1,500 in 2011, as it tries to offset its loses in Europe due to the ongoing economic crisis.

Autonews said that according to Fiat sources, aside from the sedan model, there are plans to produce a five-door hatchback version of the Viaggio/Dart, which could be exported to Europe as a replacement for the Bravo.


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